One of the most interesting items in the latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails is a message from a left-wing Israeli leader complaining about the Obama administration being too soft on Hezbollah and Hamas.
The email in question was sent to then-Secretary Clinton in 2011 by Tzipi Livni, who at the time was the head of the Israeli opposition. Livni wrote to Clinton of her “frustration” that “in the case of Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the international community had limited its definition of democracy to the technical conduct of voting and failed to insist that those who sought the benefits of the democratic process accept its underlying principles as well.”
“The result, as you know,” she wrote to Secretary Clinton, “was to give a measure of democratic legitimacy and power to forces that were plainly not committed to democratic principles and that continue to pose a danger to their own societies and to their neighbors.”
Livni was drawing attention to a serious problem: the ability of Arab terrorists to exploit democratic elections–and the policy of the Obama administration to turn a blind eye, leaving Israel to deal with the consequences.
In Livni’s view, “those who sought the benefits of the democratic process” — meaning, those parties that wanted to compete in democratic elections in Arab countries– should be allowed to do so only if they “accept its underlying principles as well” — meaning that they would need to sincerely embrace the basic principles of democracy, or they could not participate in the elections.
Livni was responding to the dangerous developments that occurred on Israel’s northern and southern borders in recent years.
In the north, the Hezbollah terrorists were permitted to take part in Lebanon’s elections without having to change anything about their behavior or platform. They ran in the 2004 municipal elections and captured 21 percent of the nation’s municipalities. Then in the 2005 general parliamentary election, Hezbollah won 14 seats nationwide, and a Hezbollah-Amal joint faction won all 23 of the seats in southern Lebanon. As a result, Hezbollah became a partner in the governing coalition and was awarded two cabinet seats.
Hezbollah’s role in the national government has helped prevent the regime from taking any action against the 100,000-plus rockets that Hezbollah has stationed near the Lebanon-Israel border. By exploiting democracy to gain a share of power, Hezbollah strengthened its ability to continue its terrorist buildup without interference.
Meanwhile, at Israel’s southern border, Hamas was allowed to take part in Palestinian elections in Gaza in January 2006 without having to change anything about its platform or behavior, either. Hamas won that election. The new Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, initially formed a coalition government with Fatah, but then later got into a mini-war with Fatah and took over sole control of Gaza.
The Bush administration declined to pressure Lebanon to keep Hezbollah out of its elections. In Gaza, the U.S. administration actively encouraged the holding of elections, despite Hamas’s refusal to change its ways. And the Obama administration has continued this folly of treating democratically-elected terrorists as legitimate rulers.
The threat to Israel from Hezbollah and Hamas is not a right-wing or left-wing issue. All Israelis are the targets of Hamas rockets, and likewise all Israelis will be the victims of Hezbollah’s huge arsenal of rockets when that day comes. Thus in her private email to Hillary Clinton, left-wing leader Tzipi Livni said exactly what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said many times.
In the United States, of course, any party can take part in elections, no matter how extreme they are. Communists and neo-Nazis who favor the destruction of American democracy can run for office just like everybody else. America can afford to be generous in this respect because those extremist factions are so little that there is no danger of them actually gaining power and destroying the system that they exploited.
Not so in the Arab countries. There are enough extremist voters in Lebanon and Gaza that terrorists have been able to rise through the very democratic system that they subsequently destroyed in Gaza and which they dream of destroying in Lebanon.
State Department officials prattle about the need for democratic elections in the Arab world when they don’t have to deal with the real-world consequences of such elections. Once again, it is Israel that is stuck facing the dangers caused by overseas meddlers.